Dog warning: Contaminated water sparks fear for owners as TWO pets die

DOG OWNERS have been issued a warning by an academic after two dogs, which had been in contact with the water near Rea's Wood, fell ill and died.

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Professor Chris Elliot believes an algae bloom that releases toxins could be to blame for the deaths but the investigation is ongoing.

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Children and pets are being warned to stay away from the water in Lough Neagh, Antrim, after the tragic incidents.Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council confirmed that it was aware of two reports of dogs falling ill after being in contact with the water, which is located near Rea's Wood.Professor Elliott said the blooms of algae can release toxins and can be identified as a "messy green colour" in the water.

He said: "In the vast majority of cases those blooms are fine, apart from being a bit of an eye-sore".

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The academic believes toxins from algae could have killed the two dogs (Image: Getty)

dog in water

Dogs are one of the most susceptible species to the toxins found in algae (Image: Getty)

But, he said that in some cases, the algae can produce quite toxic substances which are then released into the water.

However, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency said there was no visual evidence of algae bloom, or pollution.

They also said, "no blue-green algae have been found in the sample analysed".

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs confirmed it learnt about the death of a dog in that area on May 5.

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algae in petri dish

Northern Ireland Environment Agency said there was no visual algae bloom in the water (Image: Getty)

It said: "Further reports were received that a second dog had died in similar circumstances."

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But the investigation remains ongoing.

Professor Elliott, who is the founder of the Institute for Global Food Security, said humans would need to be exposed to a large amount of the toxins "to have any kind of dramatic acute effect" on their health.

But he said, "dogs are one of the most susceptible species to these toxins".

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The academic warned that children and pets should stay away from the water (Image: Getty)The professor, who lives nearby, said: "Normally I take my dog for a walk through Rea's Wood and at the moment I will not be taking my dog there.

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"That would be my advice to everybody."

The council said any dog owner who is concerned about their pet should seek veterinary advice.

In a statement, the local council said: "We are working with the dog owners, local vets and our colleagues in DAERA to best establish the full circumstances."

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